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Sugar farmers in the state had undertaken a padayatra across 90 villages to highlight the plight of the Nizamabad Cooperative Sugar Factory (NCSF).

Farmers demand reopening of Nizam Sugar Factory before Telangana Assembly detained
news Protest Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 15:20

Sugar farmers on Wednesday attempted to block the Telangana Assembly with demands to reopen the Nizamabad Cooperative Sugar Factory (NCSF). Several farm leaders who were protesting before the Assembly were detained and taken into preventive custody.

The reopening of the sugar factory has been a long pending demand of sugar farmers in the state. The recently announced state budget 2021-22 did not make any allocation for the revival of the Nizam-era sugar factory. Earlier in March, farmer leaders belonging to the NCSF protection committee, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and several other farm unions had launched a padayatra from Thurmanpally village of Nizamabad district.

Several of the farmers who protested were driven away in police cars away from the Assembly. One of the protesters, while being detained, told the media, “We farmers have come from Jagtial to get the sugar factories opened. Police are acting worse than terrorists,” the farmer said.

The unions demanded the state government to either open the sugar factory or hand it over to the Farmers Produce Organisation (FPO). The farmers, as part of their padayatra, had aimed to cover 90 villages spread across eight mandals and conclude their protest before the Nizamabad Collector Office on April 12, reported The New Indian Express.

K Sai Reddy, the chairman of the NCSF protection committee, had then told the paper that the state government should take steps to revive the company or hand it over to the shareholders-promoted FPO. NCSF has a total of 350 shareholders and the leader claimed they are all in support of the demand being made.

The revival of the sugar factory is an unrealised promise made by the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. The factory at Bodhan (Nizamabad district) was set up in 1921 and has a catchment area of 15000 acres used for sugar cultivation. The operations later expanded with two more units at Medak and Karimnagar. But profits had declined over the past decade, making it a sick unit. The National Company Law Tribunal  (NCLT) had ordered the liquidation of the sugar factory in which the state government owns a 49% stake.

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